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Old 07-14-2014, 04:29 PM   #1
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Post Cali Top owners: How has your Cali Top broken?

Cali top Brethren,
I am in the midst of renewing a pair of late model Cali tops and motors for my 98 Cali Sport.

I am awaiting a new frame seal to arrive from Germany before I install my first verified working top, so I have a few weeks to address any other problem areas before I pop it in.

I have come across 4 different motor configurations and 2 top types. As I get to 2 solid tops, I wondered what various issues folks have had with their tops.

So far, I have seen:
  • Motors with the top plastic gear broken on the motor
  • Tops with broken bows
  • Frames with broken corners or drains
  • Tops that have retract drive issues on the drivers side
  • Loose tension straps that cause the top to not lie down completely flat
  • Dried out or clogged drain outlets
  • Shrunken, cracked or leaking frame seals
  • Wind noise at excessively high speeds

So, three questions for you then:
  • How has yours broken or been an issue?
  • What did you do to fix or retrofit it?
  • How much and how long to repair it?

I have read as much on the Cali Tops or Faltdachs as I could find. Hopefully, this can be a consolidated reference thread on diagnosis, repair, renewal and maintenance of these cool tops. I have read a number of good separate threads out there, so when I or if you have a moment, we can link them here.

I'll add to this thread as I discover any useful items.

Regards, Rich

1998 318ti Sport - "Cali" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, Cali top
1998 318ti Sport - "Max" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, S52
1997 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior
1995 318ti Active - "Blanca" Alpineweib III/Schwartz leather interior

Other Current Bimmers: 2006 530i / 2000 2.3L Z3 / 1997 1.9L Z3 / 1999 540it

1997 318ti Sport - "Huera" - RIP
1995 318ti Active - RIP
1995 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Sold
1994 325i Sedan - "Jade" - Sold
1991 318ic - "Bert" - Sold
1985 635csi sold
1984 533i "Max" Sold
1984 318i sold

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Old 07-15-2014, 04:17 AM   #2
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How do Cali tops break...let us count the ways. Great idea for a thread, Rich. Cheers, John
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Old 03-15-2024, 02:37 AM   #3
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Rich, Let me know if you need the link to the Cali Top manual I have in my Google Drive.


98 318ti MSport M52, 88 M3, 97 M3/4
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cali top , faltdach , folding top

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